Homework is a Hassle: 5 Tips for Getting It Done

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As a kid, I genuinely enjoyed homework. Something about it seemed big and important, like I was on my way to growing up. Perhaps it was because there were plenty of projects involved. Book reports were always my favorite. I labored over the cover art and chose my words carefully. It was my chance to tell my little world what I really thought about the book. Dioramas also made learning fun. Painting, cutting, and pasting for hours – I loved creating those miniature scenes.

Worksheets were few and far between in my youth. We read. We worked our way through workbooks. And we relied heavily on creativity.

Yes, I enjoyed homework when I was a child.

As a mother, I daresay I despise it.

Every once in a while, a fun project comes home. I live for the fun projects. While I’m not necessarily one to create groundbreaking new crafts for kids, I love to engage in crafting with my kids.

But for the most part…homework revolves around worksheets. Week after week the packet of busywork comes home in the homework folder. Sure, the worksheets are meant to build upon the classroom learning. And yes, most days my daughter actually enjoys it.

But I don’t. I believe that childhood should be more about play and less about memorization. I think there is a lot to be learned about math, science, and literacy in our surroundings. I am certain that fresh air and exercise are essential to growing minds.

Nonetheless, it has to be done.

So keep reading for the best five tips to getting the homework done!

Image via Flickr/Nir Nussbaum
Image via Flickr/Nir Nussbaum

Play First

Your kids are in school for six solid hours.  They read.  They write.  They add and subtract.  If they’re lucky, they get some PE and recess.  But overall, they do a lot of sitting. 

Let them play first.  Give them some much-needed downtime when they first get home.  Some like to play quietly in their rooms while others like to get outside.  Find what works for your child and do it.  Resist the urge to discuss the homework or peek at the assignments for at least one hour.  Your kids need time to decompress.

Image via Flickr/pjsixft ("PJ")
Image via Flickr/pjsixft (“PJ”)

Choose Healthy Snacks

Brains get tired.  They require rest and refueling.

It’s no big secret that kids love cookies, and I’m a firm believer in fun snacks.  But you have to think about balance.  Cookies alone will result in highs and lows, but add some fruit and dairy and you have a well-balanced snack.

Image via Flickr/photosteve101
Image via Flickr/photosteve101

Schedule It

Block out a certain timeframe for homework each day.  When kids know what to expect, there is less room for bargaining (or whining). 

Image via iStock/AVAVA
Image via iStock/AVAVA

Create a Homework Corner

A centrally located homework spot with a homework organizational system (files for each day of the week, for example), will take the guesswork out what needs to be done.  A whiteboard calendar at your child’s height to track assignments each week can work wonders for visual learners.

Image via Flickr/woodleywonderworks
Image via Flickr/woodleywonderworks

Engage Your Child

Even for the most motivated student, homework can be a drag.  Kids work hard at school.  They get tired and would prefer to play or do something of their choice.  The more you engage with your child, the more focused they will be.  Resist the urge to correct and ask questions or share thoughts on the subject instead.  Your attitude toward homework sets the tone – try to make it a positive one.

Do your kids resist homework?  How do you keep them focused?

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Homework is a Hassle: 5 Tips for Getting It Done

Katie Hurley, LCSW is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and writer in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of "No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls" and "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World". She earned her BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from Boston College and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She divides her time between her family, her private practice and her writing. Passionate about he ... More

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1 comment

  1. Profile photo of zoemariecat zoemariecat says:

    I can’t wait to help my baby on their homework like my dad did

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